Friday, October 14, 2011

'Parks and Rec' Inspires a "Treat Yourself Weekend!" ...

On last night's episode of Parks and Recreation, "Pawnee Rangers," we were introduced to something so simple and yet so necessary we can only hope it sticks. Not just as a plot point for episodes to come but also for its fans. "Treat Yourself" was the objective of Tom Haverford (Aziz Ansari), a character who has yet to do such an honest day's work that it warrants a "treat" and Donna (Retta), a woman who lives a lifestyle much more lavish than we would imagine a small town cityworker could afford. I'm not going to bastardize the effect with a summary-- you should just watch the episode in full-- but suffice to say their day of pampering inspired me to solidify my own.

"Treat Yourself" is all about doing something completely for you-- something that will bring you happiness and put you in a zen-like state in these otherwise stressful times. And "Treat Yourself" looks different for Tom, Donna, and even Ben (Adam Scott), who they dragged along. And it will look different for me and for you. Luxury, decadence, and excess is in the eye of the beholder; some might say I "treat myself" far too often as it is simply by eating cupcakes for breakfast. Some might say that walking into an art gallery and "impulse buying" a new Fazzino a few weeks ago may have been a treat worthy of the year. Some might say that wearing pajamas to work is a treat in and of itself. But that's their perception.

Working as a television blogger, where entertainment is really a 24/7 cycle in this digital ages of smartphones, tablets, and well, 24/7 original programming, I take my Saturdays very, very seriously. Far before Parks and Recreation made it a "thing," I was "treating myself" to a day completely devoid of work or even correspondence. What's once a year? I need relaxation once a week! I would turn off my laptop, only check email and Twitter on my phone sparingly, and usually (read: when the weather was 65 or higher) head out to Malibu with a book, my dog, and my towel with the pillow built-in. I'd tan, nap, read, and eavesdrop for a few hours and then come home, order take-out and watch a guilty pleasure movie marathon into the wee hours of the morning. I often cap it off with a bubble bath, during which I drink an ice cream soda. It's not too outrageous-- for some it's completely mundane and sedate-- but it works for me.

Parks and Recreation has given me reason to consider stepping it up, though. Not every week, but definitely this week. In addition to lounging by the water and reading (the brand new Chuck Klosterman novel), I think I'm going to hit the mall and purge my own sock drawer (and probably a lot of my underwear while I'm at it...). And then design a pair of sapphire and aqua marine hoop earrings to match my "day" tennis bracelet that I literally wear every day. TREAT YOURSELF.

But the point is, "Treat Yourself" is going to result in a different action for every individual person, but it is something that we need to do in order to create our best possible selves. Parks and Recreation may have given us the okay, but the tools have been within us all along! What is YOUR "Treat Yourself" day going to look like!?

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